Government warned over self-isolation options for the homeless

At risk rough sleepers need “alternative safe space” if turned away from shelters over Coronavirus concerns

Homeless person sleeping in a pedestrian tunnel

 

The operator of England’s largest network of winter night shelters has warned government to get ahead of options for rough sleepers turned away from stays over Coronavirus fears.

Glass Door has said it won’t admit rough sleepers regarded as “at risk” from Coronavirus, but raises concerns over support for those who have nowhere to self-isolate, saying turning rough sleepers away from night shelters without an alternative safe space to retreat seems inhumane and potentially risky for public health.

“I think all of us in the homeless sector are keen to share ideas and come up with a support solution.

“(We are) in regular communication with other charities and I’ve been heartened by the willingness to work together to come up with better guidance,” said Glass Door Chief Operating Officer, Lucy Abraham.

“We flagged our concerns to (MHCLG) early on, calling for specific guidance aimed at people without a fixed address who may be “at-risk” of contracting coronavirus.

“As coronavirus spreads, it’s encouraging to hear that the government is now drawing up plans for this eventuality.

We believe that everyone has inherent dignity no matter where they sleep – The voices of those who have nowhere to turn but the streets should be heard in this public health crisis,” she said.

Glass Door acknowledges the risks of the virus reaching its shelters is increasing in likelihood by the day.

Abraham confirmed that where rough sleepers met the “at risk” criteria, Glass Door would be unable to admit them into its shared space shelters.

At present, Glass Door is following Public Health England and NHS guidance, having increased supply of hand gels in shelters and stepped up cleaning procedures.

 

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